Animation Artifacts &commercial animation &Illustration &Independent Animation &Story & Storyboards 23 Jan 2012 05:33 am

John Wilson/Fine Art Films – part 3

- This week in my focus on John Wilson‘s early work with his company, Fine Art Films, let’s take a look at Irma La Douce. This was a racy film written and directed by Billy Wilder that starred Shirley MacLaine as a Parisian prostitute and Jack Lemmon as a French policeman who falls in love with Irma (Shirley MacLaine.) The film, for its time was daring, and came up with (heaven forbid) a “C” for Condemned rating from the Catholic church. This made it off limits for anyone under the age of 18. I was determined to go see the film, so I ignored the ban and went by myself. Naturally enough, no one tried to stop me. I wasn’t jaded by the movie anymore than I had been disturbed by the violence in all the Warner Bros. cartoons I’d seen. Looking back on Irma La Douce, it really is an innocent film, hardly risqué in any way shape or form.

The film started with some nicely drawn animated credits which were done by John Wilson’s studio. Until recently I hadn’t known that Wilson also produced an animated short promoting the feature for the Mirisch Company. I have some preproduction art from that short as well as the color storyboard. The board is large enough that I’ve decided to break it into two parts. We’ll see part one today and the second part next week.

Each section of three images is long enough that unless I post one drawing at a time, it’ll be too tiny to see unless enlarged. I’d like to post each storyboard sketch a nice viewing size and still give you the option of enlarging it.

Let’s start with some production and post production stills so you can see what it looked like.





A couple of pre-production drawings:




Then, there’s the storyboard. I’ll give an example of the three panel pull out and follow that with each individual image.

You can see why I’ve decided to enlarge the images.


















The remainder of the storyboard will be posted next Monday.

10 Responses to “John Wilson/Fine Art Films – part 3”

  1. on 23 Jan 2012 at 1:03 pm 1.Swinton Scott said …

    Wow, these drawings made me smile! Such great work! I can’t recall if I ever met John wilson or not, but I like what you have been posting of his work. Thanks again.

  2. on 23 Jan 2012 at 6:14 pm 2.Eldon said …

    Beautiful stuff. Reminds me of Tomi Ungerer.

  3. on 23 Jan 2012 at 8:36 pm 3.Thad said …

    It was Mike Kazaleh who informed me of this trailer’s origins ages ago when I originally posted it to my blog. What I like about it is its originality and ingenuity. By giving an animated summation of the live-action story, you avoid the cliché of showing too much of the movie with actual clips. Why aren’t there more like it?

    The movie itself is merely a combination of Wilder troupes (mostly Some Like It Hot and The Apartment) that’s about forty-five minutes too long. The picture clearly needs Marilyn Monroe (for whom it was written), but since she was too dead to play the role of the lead hooker, the film screams “unfulfilled”.

  4. on 23 Jan 2012 at 11:02 pm 4.Jason said …

    Wow! Really beautiful stuff.

  5. on 24 Jan 2012 at 12:44 pm 5.The Gee said …

    “….”the film screams “unfulfilled”.”

    Not every collaborative production works out perfectly. But, you already know that.

    To call it unfulfilled on the basis of not all of the desired players being in it, is more wishful thinking than anything else. Besides, Monroe late in her life wasn’t at her performing peak, was she?

    I’m piping up because it isn’t exactly fair criticism to bring up that. The rest of what you wrote…I agree with and it is sound.

    I, too, believe that animated trailers should be more common…not just for romantic/comedies but, hell, why not for everything that takes some time to produce, including novels, plays and the whole nine yards. Why not?

  6. on 24 Jan 2012 at 12:48 pm 6.The Gee said …

    Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit this but when I was a kid, I was more likely to watch one of these films if the credit roll/titles were animated. I found some of my favorite movies early on for that reason.

    Nowadays, well…there’s been duds that did the same with hand animated titles.

    However, I’m more likely to cut live action folks (directors, etc) slack if they do include some animation for that purpose or for others. It hopefully shows more than an appreciation. Hopefully, it shows they get it.

  7. on 31 Jan 2012 at 5:50 pm 7.Jenny Lerew said …

    Looking at this art all the usual internet cliches come to mind, especially: “Wow. Just…wow.” This is such gorgeous stuff!

    I too, along with Gee up there, was much more interested in watching “adult” films if they happened to start with animated titles-but what’s wrong with that? ;)
    Off the top of my head I’d cite After the Fox, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines(both of which also had great kid appeal in their opening songs), Charge of the Light Brigade, and-though the character animation in it is minimal, Mad Mad Mad Mad World. I’m sure there are a lot of others I’m not thinking of right now–but Sporn knows them , no doubt!

  8. on 31 Jan 2012 at 5:51 pm 8.Adam Dahlstrom said …

    Beautiful work! I love his color and his use of black.

  9. on 01 Feb 2012 at 1:12 pm 9.Steve Segal said …

    It’s good Mr Wilson is getting some attention. He is a brilliant artist and a real gentleman. I was fortunate to meet and chat with him at several animation screenings an L.A., he was very generous with his time. He was extremely prolific, creating animation for such familiar pieces as the credits for Grease and the opening and connecting pieces for The Sonny and Cher show and even directed an animated feature “Shinbone Alley”.

  10. on 22 Jun 2016 at 9:17 pm 10.Michael Wilson said …

    Thanks for the kind words of my dad the late John David Wilson 1919-2013. He a had a definite style which was all his form Joni’s Big Yellow Taxi to Petrushka with a score by Igor Stravinsky. In the movie with Peter Sellars in Being There in the back of the limo there is Basketball Jones on t.v. That’s his. As is Billy Wilder’s Irma la Douce the animated credits at the beginning of the film. Grease credits were mentioned as is all his work on Carol Burnett, Sonny and Cher Show, Jonathan Winters Show and more. Long live the art !!!

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

eXTReMe Tracker
click for free hit counter

hit counter